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Kearns: Earned Income Tax Credit puts money in your pocket


Mon, Mar 18th 2024 04:30 pm

Federal and state tax credits can add up to $7,430 in EITC refund

Submitted by the Office of Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns 

If you worked in the past year, you can get your federal and state taxes e-filed for free, and you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For tax year 2023, the maximum EITC is worth $7,430 – that goes to a family with three or more qualifying children if you earn less than $56,838 (single filers and head of households) or $63,398 (married filing jointly). That is why I am pleased that the Erie County Clerk’s Office is raising awareness of the critical support of United Way’s MyFreeTaxes program.

In partnership with the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, MyFreeTaxes helps filers prepare their tax returns on their own or have their return prepared for them for free while assisting low and moderate-income individuals and families with reliable assistance by opening access to tax credits and other benefit programs. Let VITA help you navigate through the somewhat confusing aspects of tax preparation including applying for the EITC.

If you are not familiar with the EITC, here is some basic information.

The EITC is a federal tax benefit created by the federal government in 1975 to benefit low-income and working families in an effort to reduce poverty and grow the economy. It is a refundable credit based upon your earned (W-2) income and it usually increases as you add qualified dependents.

Additionally, if you weren’t aware of the EITC before now, you can file an amended return to claim them. The IRS will accept them dating back three years, to tax year 2020. 

To qualify for the EITC, you must meet the basic qualifying rules, which include:

√ Have worked and earned income under $56,838

√ Have investment income below $11,000 in the tax year 2023

√ Have a valid Social Security number by the due date of your 2023 return (including extensions)

√ Be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien all year

√ Not file Form 2555 (related to foreign earned income)

2023 Earned Income Tax Credit Requirements:

Number of Children



Maximum Income


Married Filing Jointly

Maximum Income


Maximum EITC


No children








1 child








2 children








3 or more children








The IRS estimates that four out of five workers claim the EITC, which means millions of taxpayers are putting EITC dollars to work for them. Nationwide last year, roughly 23 million eligible working families and individuals received nearly $57 billion in EITC. The average amount of EITC received nationwide was $2,541 and, in New York state, the average amount was $2,416. Those EITC dollars had a significant impact on the lives and communities of the nation’s lowest-paid working people who are struggling to make ends meet.

If you think you may qualify for the EITC, I encourage you to have your return prepared through the IRS’ VITA program before the electronic filing deadline of April 15, 2024. Call 2-1-1 to make an appointment and find a free tax preparation site near you, or visit myfreetaxes.com to get started.

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